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East End cops honoured in fight against crime

PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:20 05 October 2010

Some of the rescuers of the Mile End tube derailment

Some of the rescuers of the Mile End tube derailment

TOP cops in London’s East End were honoured for their bravery and dedication at an award ceremony in the Tower of London. Around 50 police constables, sergeants and community support officers received commendations from Tower Hamlets’ borough commander on Friday. These included officers rescuing hundreds of passengers trapped on a Tube train deep under ground and some who prevented a gangland shoot-out in a packed pop festival

By Gemma Collins

TOP cops in London’s East End were honoured for their bravery and dedication at an award ceremony in the Tower of London.

Around 50 police constables, sergeants and community support officers received commendations from Tower Hamlets’ borough commander on Friday.

These included officers rescuing hundreds of passengers trapped on a Tube train deep under ground and some who prevented a gangland shoot-out in a packed pop festival.

A team of nine officers helped hundreds of panicked commuters last July when a tube train was derailed on the London Underground, which sparked fears of a terrorist attack.

It was only a few weeks after a terrorist attack in Glasgow and just before the second anniversary of the 7/7 London Tube suicide bombings.

The train ground to a halt on the Central Line during rush-hour in the tunnel between Mile End and Bethnal Green as carriages filled with smoke.

Police did not find out until an hour later that the train had hit a metal obstruction on the track and ruled out any terrorist connection.

But nine officers who had previously helped the rescue at Aldgate station after the suicide tube bombings in 2005 went straight into the tunnel to reach the 900 passengers.

Police sergeants Mark Weyman, Gavin Murray, Sam Salmon and Richard Mooney, together with PCs Lucy Burton, Sarah Smith, Glenn Nash, John Tansley and Andrew Barrett, helped escort them along the track to safety, with 37 passengers injured and 11 needing hospital treatment.

Sgt Weyman, 44, who has been an officers 21 years, said: “You just don’t think about it. You have to go straight down into the station. .

“People were panicking because they thought it was a terrorist attack. I had to co-ordinate a way of getting to these people.”

But he was modest about Friday commendations.

“It’s nice for my family to know more about what I do,” he added.

“But I just feel that this is what we as police officers do. We just get on with it.”

Pc Weyman was commended for leadership, bravery and professionalism.

Chief Ins Alastair White said: “There was a genuine fear that it could possibly have been the result of terrorist activity.

“Despite this, officers attended without hesitation and took control of the incident.”

Officers were also commended after preventing a shooting at last summer’s Lovebox Weekender festival at Victoria Park.

They were tipped-off before the annual festival that a notorious Hackney gang intended to shoot a rival gang member in the middle of the crowd of 40,000 rock fans.

Chief Ins Neil Sharman, Pol Sgt Andrew Fittes and constables Stephen Mills, Philip James and Debbie Hines spent a day and night reorganising the entire policing operation for the event.

They had intelligence that both gangs who had been selling drugs at the festival the year before intended to shoot a rival with the background music so no one would hear.

“We spent a long time thinking whether we wanted the gang to know that we knew what they were planning,” Sgt Fittes explained.

“But we realised that for public safety we had to make it obvious.

“It was the first time armed officers had patrolled a festival, so we had nothing to base it on.”

Officers patrolling the park with Heckler and Koch sub-machine guns came across two gangs trying to enter the festival and believe many gang members were scared off because of the large police presence.

The five officers were commended for outstanding leadership commitment and professionalism.

gemma.collins@archant.co.uk


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